Surviving winter driving incidents

Driving safely in the winter months

photo courtesy of via Creative Commons

While fall months are generally plentiful with positive things, there are always a few things that can ruin just about anybody’s day. To pretty much anybody that is not a hunter, deer is often an unwanted nuisance. While some people may think the biggest problem with deer is eating flowers from a well-taken care of garden, deer present a much larger and more dangerous problem- setting foot on the road.

Lasting from mid-October all the way to mid-December is what people refer to as the “rut”; the time when deer lose their antlers, begin mating, and are much more present. According to the Prince William County Police Department, one in every 136 will have a deer related accident in the next year, with “half, if not more” occurring during the months of October to December. While one in 136 may not sound like much, that equates to roughly 22 Battlefield students.

After having corresponded with State Farm Insurance, ABC News reports that deer related accidents are on the rise as well. 2.3 million cases over 2 years across the states means accidents are up an astonishing 21.1% from just five years ago, and with the average cost of an accident being $3,103, deer have been costing a lot of people a lot of money.

Recently having a close call herself, Battlefield junior McCall Moran shares what her experience was like. “I was coming home from a friend’s house about a week or two ago when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I had to come to a complete stop to avoid hitting the deer crossing the road!” Not an uncommon occurrence around Haymarket and surrounding cities, Moran’s story helps show how something similar could happen to anybody. Thankfully, Moran was alert, or her story could have ended a lot differently.

Junior Casey Rosenthal, a newly licensed driver, shares some concerns he has about this year’s rut. “This being the first year I am driving during the fall, I want to make sure nothing goes horribly wrong. I’m looking to be an even more safe driver during these next couple months.” When asked about his vehicle, Rosenthal laughed, “My truck may be strong, but I’m not looking to test its strength with a deer!”

While deer can be both unpredictable and dangerous, there are many simple precautions that can be taken to potentially save an accident from occurring in the first place. All too familiar with the rut, Allstate Insurance recommends first making sure to be going the posted speed limit to allow for more reaction time. Also recommended is having high beams on at appropriate times throughout the night, allowing deer to be easier spotted. Deer commonly travel in groups, meaning if one is spotted, extra precaution should be taken to ensure another does not follow. Possibly the most important piece of advice is to being sure not to attempt to swerve out of the way of the deer. Swerving to avoid a deer may potentially throw a car into either a ditch or the path of oncoming traffic, becoming much more dangerous than the damage from the deer itself.

Not all deer accidents may be preventable, but with a little extra awareness and by following the tips provided, the accidents are surely less likely to occur in the first place. Fall is one of the best times of the year, and in order to keep it that way, it is important to remain both alert and safe on the roads.